Saturday, August 23, 2008

Martha Graham Contraction

For two summers, I have taken the Martha Graham modern dance class intensive. I have enjoyed it greatly. An earmark move for her, used as a warm-up in all of her classes, is the contraction.

Sit down on the floor with the soles of your feet touching each other. Place the palms of your hands on your ankles. Start a contraction from deep inside your lower abdominal muscles. Let it travel up your midsection until your clavicle seems to bend in two, with an indentation in the middle. Keep your spinal cord as straight as possible and have your head be in a higher position than it was at the beginning of themove.

The release starts from your lower abdominal muscles and lower back. Let it move up your spinal column. Take it until your posiiton is the same as it was when you began, or go further until your face and heart chakra - chest point to the ceiling. Release
Doing all of this is difficult and takes years of practice. It has you connect with deep emotions and release them for new beginnings.

Disclaimer: None of the above information can be taken as a substitute for advice from a medical professional, such as a physician.

My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on,, and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories.

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